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Annie Leonard: The Story Of The Story Of Stuff

Jenny Asarnow
05/06/2010 at 8:00 p.m.

When you look at a chair what do you see? Perhaps you see a chair. What does Annie Leonard see? "It looks like mahogany or teak I wonder if it came from Indonesia or Malaysia I wonder if the Penang people got kicked off it looks like it's PVC it could be leaching phthalates those endocrine disruptors there could be flame retardants— " Whew.

Leonard's friends told her she needed to lighten up. So the fast–talking environmental activist made a cartoon. "The Story of Stuff" is a critique of the materials economy. It explains where our stuff comes from, where it goes once we trash it, and argues we're buying too much, trashing the planet, and making ourselves unhappy. Leonard estimates the video has been viewed 10 million times. It's shown in classrooms around the United States, to the dismay of Glenn Beck.

Annie Leonard spoke in her hometown, Seattle, at Town Hall on March 24, 2010. University Bookstore and the Town Hall Center for Civic Life sponsored the event.

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